In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on how many teams are in the race for Chris Kreider, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t able to escape their game against the Calgary Flames without a couple of injuries, and are the Toronto Maple Leafs wondering about throwing in the towel on this season and getting the best asset back they can for next season?
Eight Teams In on Kreider
According to Pierre LeBrun on latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Chris Kreider is garnering interest from “at least eight teams” in the NHL. LeBrun couldn’t name the teams but speculation is the price on Kreider is climbing, likely having reached similar levels to what the Rangers received for Kevin Hayes last season — a first-round pick and a young forward.
Kreider has 17 goals and 32 points in 48 games this season. His offense is good, but what teams seem to like most is his speed, experience, and physical play. Kreider holds 11-team no-trade clause and considering he’s said in the past he’d like to stay a Rangers player, it will likely come into play and it’s not known at this time if any of the eight teams interested are on his list.
The New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis asked Kreider about the talk of him being moved at the All-Star Game. Kreider said:
“It really doesn’t [cross my mind], and I know people probably roll their eyes when I say that, but I’m really trying to focus on things — I’m not trying, I am focusing on the things I can control.”
LeBrun also notes the Rangers haven’t written off the idea of a contract extension with Kreider still but none of those talks have happened to date.
Related: Alexei Yashin Trade Revisited
Two Out, Two In For Oilers
Oilers’ forward Joakim Nygard was hurt blocking a shot in the game against the Flames on Wednesday. He left at the end of the first period, didn’t return and now it appears he has a potentially serious injury. Unfortunately, Kris Russell also went down during the game and is being looked at under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
In their place the Oilers will call up Tyler Benson who has been working towards his NHL debut for a long time. A 21-year-old forward who was drafted No. 1 by the Vancouver Giants in the 2013 WHL bantam draft dealt with injury issues and dropped in his NHL draft class. The Oilers ended up grabbing him the start of the second round and he’s slowly progressed into a skilled, high-end forward. Edmonton is hoping Benson can do for them what Kailer Yamamoto has done for them since his call-up.
The Oilers have also called up William Lagesson in place of Kris Russell.
Maple Leafs Hunting for a First-Round Pick?
The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently out of the playoff picture and there have been comments made about the team deciding the future with their play and GM Kyle Dubas only grabbing assets before the deadline that have term, even if it means passing over some of the best rentals. All of this has led to speculation the Maple Leafs might consider dumping some big names and trying to land a first-round draft pick at this year’s draft.
Rory Boylen of Sportsnet wonders if Toronto would move some key defensemen to get that first-round pick. He writes:
“But say Toronto gets to Feb. 24 and are four or more points out of the race — do they sell Tyson Barrie to the highest bidder? Cody Ceci would move, if possible. And though Jake Muzzin said last week he’d like to stay in his hometown , if an extension isn’t signed by that time/and/Toronto is chasing? GM Kyle Dubas may have to explore trade options.
He called this idea the worst case scenario for the Leafs but not out of the question. The idea would be to open up cap space or move that first-rounder in a trade for a defenseman with term during the off-season.
When the team recalled defenseman Kevin Gravel from the AHL’s Marlies on Friday morning, this added to the speculation there might be a trade coming.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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